Legislature Speaker Nathan Cooper speaks with Grade 6 students in Sylvan Lake as part of his outreach program. Photo by Megan Roth/Black Press Media

Speaker of the legislature pays visit to central Alberta students

Sylvan Lake elementary school students had a visit from the Speaker of the legislative this week.

As part of his outreach program, Nathan Cooper, the Speaker and MLA for Didsbury-Olds, is visiting schools to teach students about parliamentary traditions and symbols.

Thursday, he visited Grade 6 students at Ecole Steffie Woima Elementary School and brought with him a special item: the provincial mace.

“This is only the fifth time it has left Edmonton,” Cooper told the students.

He explained the mace represents the Queen’s power in the legislature, and each province has their own, as well as one for the country.

Because the Speaker and the mace were present, another figure came to the school as well: the sergeant-at-arms, whose job is to provide security for the legislature.

“The Speaker is elected by his peers, who were elected by the people, and so to be more of the people, the Speaker started to wear a hat that was popular at the time,” Cooper said about the tri-corn hat the Speaker wears.

Following a period of explanations, and a few questions and answers, Cooper helped conduct a mock sitting of the legislature.

“The idea here is to get interactive with the students and put democracy in their hands,” he said in a statement previously.

“Yes, it is about education, but it’s also about appreciation. I am personally passionate about our institutions, and I want students to know that it is OK to be passionate about things like democracy.”

Cooper says one of his priorities as Speaker is to connect more with the public, and in particular, the youth of the province.

Before visiting Sylvan Lake, Cooper was at a school in Innisfail, “pulling back the curtain.”

As part of the Speaker’s outreach program, Cooper will be making stops across central Alberta, including Trochu, Crossfield, Carstairs and Wheatland Crossing School.

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